As part of its thematic series of co-sponsored sessions this academic year on “Iberian History as Global History” at major international conferences, the American Academy of Research Historians of Medieval Spain (AARHMS) has partnered with UCLA’s CMRS Center for Early Global Studies (CEGS) to host a symposium on The Western Mediterranean and the Global Middle Ages, which will be held in person at the stately Royce Hall on the UCLA campus on October 20-21, 2023. We invite proposals for 20-minute presentations that explore the possibilities and/or underlying complexities of conceptualizing the early history of the Western Mediterranean in a global framework.
Geraldine Heng, who helped coin the term “Global Middle Ages” (GMA) in the early 2000s, has made the case that such “a global perspective of the deep past can transform our understanding of history and of time itself, enabling us to identify, for instance, not just a single scientific and industrial revolution that occurred once, exclusively in the West, but the recurrence of multiple scientific and industrial revolutions in the non-Western, nonmodern world.” Along these lines, how can the GMA paradigm inspire new inroads for exploring the interrelationship of variegated societies and cultures within the Mediterranean context? As Heng and others have recognized, pushing beyond traditional geographical boundaries in this way and eschewing Euro-centrism implicitly destabilizes ingrained periodizations, such as medieval/early modern and premodernity/modernity. What sorts of alternative spatial and temporal frameworks can enhance scholarly assessment of the intertwined histories of the individuals, groups, institutions, and political entities active within the Western Mediterranean and beyond? Finally, how can global, decentered approaches help scholars contend with or resist the deep-seated, largely Euro- or Christo-centric and often anachronistic and teleological historiographic legacies that have long influenced work on the Iberian Peninsula, Maghreb, and broader Western-Mediterranean environment. We welcome contributions that consider these inquiries as well as other questions pertaining to these themes from the standpoints of research, teaching, and public history and in light of the CEGS research axes.
The symposium will feature plenary lectures by Samantha Kelly, Professor of History and Associate Department Chair at Rutgers University, and Toby Yuen-Gen Liang, Associate Research Fellow of Academia Sinica and founder of the Spain-North Africa Project.
All presenters will receive complementary lodging on or near the UCLA campus and meals and refreshments for the duration of the conference. Selected participants will receive up to a $500 travel subsidy, dependent on available funding, with priority given to graduate students and early-career or independent scholars.
For consideration, please send proposals containing a title and abstract of approximately 250 words to email@example.com no later than Sunday, February 19, 2023. Please direct any questions to this same email address. Presenters must be members of the AARHMS (click here to join). Note that we intend to publish expanded versions (approx. 6000 words) of a subset of the presented papers in a volume that will appear within the CEGS Cursor Mundi book series published by Brepols Press. Please indicate whether you would be open to participating in such a volume in your proposal.